January 17, 1974 - Cobo Arena - Detroit, MI

The Cripplers take pride in what they did at MSG.

Our first show of 1974 kicked off with Bobby Heenan and The Cripplers coming out to brag about what they did at the year end show in New York, ruining Bobo Brazil's award ceremony, assaulting his son Bobo Jr., and smashing the plaque over the head of Ernie Ladd when he ran out to make the save. Ray Stevens & Nick Bockwinkel took great pride in doing what they did, saying that they are the focal point of the wrestling world now, and old crippled has-beens like Bobo Brazil have no place in the ring anymore. This brought out ERNIE LADD, and he kept it short and simple - he wanted a match against one of the World Tag Team champions, and he wanted it NOW! Ladd couldn't be 100% after the shot he took to the head last month, so Bockwinkel gladly accepted the challenge.

Nick Bockwinkel pinned Ernie Ladd after an inside cradle in 0:09:09.
Rating: ** 3/4

Ernie Ladd may not have been in top physical condition to take this match, but he was running on pure anger as he beat the holy living tar out of Nick Bockwinkel. Bockwinkel & Bobby Heenan looked concerned as if they possibly made a mistake by being so confident in taking this match. Ladd was dominant in the opening minutes, but Bockwinkel got a forearm to Ladd's skull, which knocked him loopy. From there, Bockwinkel went after Ladd's head, trying to cause him severe physical harm. Ladd tried to fight back, but Bockwinkel caught him in an inside cradle, grabbed the tights, got the win, and got the hell out of town. This will only serve to make Ladd even more angry than he already was.

Mr. Wrestling I and Mr. Wrestling II defeated Baron Mikel Scicluna and Spiros Arion when Wrestling II pinned Scicluna with the Million Dollar Kneelift in 0:10:34.
Rating: *** 1/4
(Johnny Rodz no-showed.)

This match was supposed to see Mr. Wrestling I & II taking on Johnny Rodz & Spiros Arion, but Johnny Rodz wasn't here, getting stuck in the Northeast thanks to a snow storm. Baron Mikel Scicluna stepped in to take his place. Scicluna may be free of Lou Albano, but frankly, he is still a jerk. Scicluna & Arion got along as a team surprisingly well, but I & II were firing on all cylinders, taking the win with relative ease. They came close to winning the tag titles last month, which has resulted in Mr. Wrestling I & II being granted a title rematch on February 11 in the Boston Garden!

Billy Robinson pinned Baron Mikel Scicluna with the Double-Arm Suplex in 0:05:45.
Rating: ***

Baron Mikel Scicluna still had a scheduled singles match, and unfortunately with the way the card lined up, it was immediately following the tag team affair against the returned from injury Billy Robinson. Robinson didn't miss a beat, up to his old tricks as he picked up the win with the Double-Arm Suplex.

Harley Race pinned Don Muraco after a flying headbutt in 0:06:03.
Rating: ** 1/2

We were all shocked to see the GCW debut of HARLEY RACE! Race is currently one of the top wrestlers in the world, and he had held out from wrestling for Global Championship Wrestling for years. Apparently a deal has been brokered, and he is now on the GCW roster! He made an immediate impact, winning in impressive fashion over Don Muraco. Afterwards, Race grabbed the mic and said 5 simple words: "I want the World Title." What an impressive debut for a world class athlete.

Jerry Lawler defeated Billy Graham by disqualification in 0:08:17.
Rating: * 3/4
[The Grand Wizard interfered against Jerry Lawler.]

Billy Graham is still fuming over losing the United States Title. The Grand Wizard made several attempts to get GCW officials to return the US Title to the Superstar, but they would have none of it - Luke Graham remains the US champion. Billy Graham will be getting a rematch, but first, he wanted a match with Jerry Lawler, the man who sold the title shot to Luke Graham in the first place. Billy was in the foulest mood we have ever seen him, and poor Lawler suffered the consequences of it. Ironically, Lawler would actually get the win here, but it was when Graham got disqualified for destroying him with the ring bell. To send an even further message to his brother, Billy Graham locked the King in the Bearhug before officials peeled him away. The next chapter in this sibling rivalry promises to be a violent one.

The Texas Outlaws (Dusty Rhodes and Dick Murdoch) defeated Dominic DeNucci and Tony Garea when Murdoch pinned Garea with the Gourdbuster in 0:18:17.
Rating: *** 1/4

The Texas Outlaws fell short in doing what they set out to do for their debut in GCW, and that's eliminate Dick the Bruiser & The Crusher. Dusty Rhodes & Dick Murdoch had to start all over again, taking on Dominic DeNucci & Tony Garea. DeNucci & Garea have been on a bit of a slump as of late, but you can't take away from the fact that they are former World Tag Team champions and not an easy win for anybody. The Outlaws had to work hard for it, but they would eventually take the victory when Murdoch hit the Gourdbuster on Garea to earn them a trip to the winner's circle.

Luke Graham pinned Bobby Duncum with the Thumb to the Throat in 0:14:25.
Rating: *** 1/2
(Luke Graham retained the GCW United States Title.)
[Bobby Heenan interfered against Luke Graham.]

Since Billy Graham chose to take his rematch for the US Title in Boston, Luke Graham was left without an opponent to make his first title defense of his third title reign. That shot was granted to the impressive youngster, Bobby Duncum. Bobby Heenan's newest wrestler has yet to lose in singles action, so this was by no means going to be an easy task. Duncum didn't show any sign of being intimidated by the GCW legend, going toe-to-toe with the US champion. Heenan had a great strategy in place too, having Duncum focus his attack on Graham's neck. Graham's neck issues are well documented, so this was sound strategy. However, Duncum couldn't quite get Graham in position to hit the Full Nelson Slam, his last attempt being countered with the Thumb to the Throat to become the first man to pin Duncum's shoulders to the mat, and retain the US Title in the process.

Mr. Fuji and Toru Tanaka defeated Crusher & Bruiser (The Crusher and Dick the Bruiser) when Tanaka made Crusher submit to a front facelock in 0:15:22.
Rating: ** 1/4

The tag team division in GCW is really heating up, and this match here showed that no team is unbeatable. Dick the Bruiser & The Crusher have come out on the winning side of the coin more often than not, even when wrestling tonight's opponents, Mr. Fuji & Professor Toru Tanaka. However, Fuji & Tanaka are opportunists, taking advantage of the fact that Bruiser & Crusher were still hurting from their Texas Death match on Christmas day. Fuji & Tanaka never let off the gas, the match coming to a close when Tanaka pretty much choked Crusher out with a front facelock.

Blackjack Lanza defeated Baron Von Raschke when Baron Von Raschke passed out in the Blackjack Claw in 0:15:50.
Rating: ** 3/4

Baron Von Raschke is officially referring to himself as the "Claw Master" after defeating Blackjack Lanza in a battle of the clawholds at the 1973 year end show, something that was sitting in Lanza's craw. The two had a rematch tonight, and the result was very different. You could tell Lanza was having some doubts wrestling Raschke, not entirely sure that he could beat Raschke straight up. When Raschke was looking to be on his way to a repeat win, Lanza got desperate, being handed a pair of brass knuckles from Bobby Heenan and waffling Raschke right between the eyes with them. Raschke dropped like a sack of bricks as Lanza stashed the knux in his tights. Lanza put on the Blackjack Claw right away, and since raschke was knocked out cold, referee Danny Bartfield called for the bell. Lanza is your winner, by hook or by crook.

Ivan Koloff defeated Pedro Morales by countout in 0:13:04.
Rating: ** 1/2
(Ivan Koloff retained the GCW World Title.)

Ivan Koloff has been absolutely unstoppable, so far undefeated in his GCW career en route to winning the World Title at MSG a few weeks back. In his first title defense, he put the gold on the line against the former champion, the most hated man in wrestling, Pedro Morales. Not only is Morales furious about how he lost the championship, but because of Koloff, Morales is also without a manager. Morales was all fired up tonight, willing to do anything it took to put Koloff away and get back what he thinks is rightfully his. Morales cut every corner and used every trick in the book to try to beat Koloff, but the Russian Bear would have none of it as he continued to defend against Morales' offense. Eventually after a big boot to the face sent Morales to the floor, Morales decided that discretion was the better part of valor, allowing himself to be counted out. Koloff was furious now, wanting to get his hands on Morales in the worst way. Morales has used this aggression to get another opportunity at the World Title in Boston, and surely he will have even more tricks up his sleeve.

Card rating: ** 3/4

Match observations:

The Boston Garden will be rocking on February 11 as GCW action returns to Beantown!

WORLD TITLE - Ivan Koloff (c) vs. Pedro Morales
UNITED STATES TITLE - Luke Graham (c) vs. Billy Graham
WORLD TAG TEAM TITLES - The Cripplers (c) vs. Mr. Wrestling I/Mr. Wrestling II
Baron Von Raschke vs. Blackjack Lanza

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